Trump 'very disappointed' with General Motors after plant closures

Randal Sanchez
November 28, 2018

The largest USA automaker is cutting seven plants and eliminating unpopular sedan models during a time when auto sales remain brisk, a sign that chief executive officer Mary Barra is making changes now before an economic downturn forces her hand.

It will be crucial for Trump to recapture states like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin if he is to win a second presidential term in 2020. I want workers to do well and worker wages to do well, and they are.

Trump said Monday that he had spoken to Barra personally and told her to replace production at a politically sensitive OH factory instead of closing the facility.

GM declined to immediately comment.

GM and its rivals are facing rising bills for technological transformation, increased risks from USA trade policy and investors reluctant to fund their traditional product strategies.

The cost-cutting happened on Monday, when GM announced that it would eliminate about 14,000 jobs in North America and could close five manufacturing plants.

Trump expressed dismay at the plan and said he was "very tough" with Barra when they discussed the reorganisation.

In the Indian market, GM used to retail Chevrolet cars but had halted domestic sales in 2017. The company plans to kill the Chevy Volt, Cruze and Impala models, as well as the Cadillac CT6 and Buick LaCrosse.

The restructuring reflects changing North American auto markets as manufacturers continue to shift away from cars towards SUVs and trucks.

GM will stop production at the following three plants: Lordstown, Ohio; Hamtramck, Michigan; and Oshawa, Ontario.

On top of the previously announced closure of the assembly plant in Gunsan, Korea, GM will also cease the operations of two additional plants outside North America by the end of next year.

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"He's looking into what those options might look like", she said. "I once again urged GM to make a commitment to bring a new product to the plant, especially since GM is proposing to build a number of new electric vehicles", Senator Portman said. The UAW's large-scale contract with GM expires next year and negotiations will begin soon. The expenditures to bring those vehicles to production will start to hit with new batteries and body architectures created to generate profits.

GM electric vehicles are eligible for a $7,500 (£5,848) tax credit under federal law.

But as long as the tariffs remain in place, GM and other American automakers have little incentive to expand production and every incentive to find new supply chains and cost-cutting strategies to avoid the import taxes.

GM said it will shift more investment to electric and autonomous vehicles.

GM's actions provoked anger from political figures on both sides of the U.S.

The closures come as North American automakers feel pressure from US tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

And, referring to the 2008 federal bailout of the auto industry, Trump angrily continued that "the USA saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get!"

Many of those who will lose jobs are now working on conventional cars with internal combustion engines.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he told Barra about his "deep disappointment" in the decision, according to reports. President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion on the First Step Act, in Gulfport, Miss., Monday, Nov. 26, 2018.

The cuts include about 8,000 white-collar employees, or 15 percent of GM's North American white-collar workforce. The company said it will cut executive ranks by 25 per cent to "streamline decision making". "GM said its slimmed down production plan would allow it to share technology across all of its vehicles and reduce the amount of time and workers it takes to build cars". At GM's Detroit headquarters on Monday, there were signs directing people to a "new hire orientation" meeting. Kudlow also said the considering adding "certain subsidies regarding electric cars" to keep GM business from going to China, although Mr. Trump's tweets would seem to contradict that.

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